Yolanda "Miracle Baby" Receives Free Heart Surgery From Dubai-based Foundation

Princess Barca, a nine month old Yolanda survivor, was given two free heart surgeries with the help of people of different nationalities.

Quezon City (I-Newswire) February 13, 2014 - Nine month old Princess Barca is a true survivor in more ways than one: not only is she one of the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda, she also pulled through two delicate heart surgeries performed on her to correct her congenital heart defect (CHD), pulmonary valve atresia . After undergoing the procedures in the Philippine Heart Center, she is now back home in Palo, Tacloban. But we're getting ahead of our story.

The amazing story of Princess' journey back to health began on December 5, 2013 when an Australian nurse, who was among the international medical teams helping Yolanda survivors in Tacloban, learned about Princess' heart condition and decided to get help. The medical tents in Tacloban were not equipped to deal with Princess' condition, so she needed to be transferred to a tertiary hospital with the expertise and equipment for infant heart surgeries.

Fortunately, the Australian nurse saw the Facebook Page of Aster DM Healthcare for their "Dr. Sanjiv Malik's Little Hearts" charity program. After learning that many Filipino children suffer from congenital heart defect (CHD), Aster DM Healthcare decided to launch the Save The Little Heart Facebook Page to reach out to potential beneficiaries. Qualified beneficiaries will receive free heart surgeries that will be funded by Dr. Moopen's Foundation.

"Since the Save the Little Hearts FB Page was started in January 22, 2013, Aster DM Healthcare has helped 17 Filipino kids from needy families who cannot afford to have their children treated for congenital heart disease. We feel privileged to learn about the stories of these children and to be able to help them. All of these children have a bright future but they are not able to reach their full potential because of CHD. In our own little way, Aster DM Healthcare is able to help give these kids a brighter future," said Joyce Alumno, country manager of Aster DM Healthcare which has set up its office in the Philippines.

According to Yolanda's mother Jean, they are the recipients of two miracles. One is that they were able to survive Typhoon Yolanda's fury. "The storm surge didn't reach our home but the winds were so strong that our house collapsed. Only one wall remained standing and we hid behind it to protect ourselves from the wind. I cradled Princess in my arms and we hid under a table from behind that wall. The wind was really strong. Carabaos and other animals went flying off," she said.

Princess was born with a congenital heart defect called pulmonary valve atresia -- this causes obstruction of blood flow to the lungs and limits the oxygen level her body. As a result, Princess would many times faint, or black out. This was very distressing, even terrifying for Jean, who never knew if Princess would wake up again after these blackouts. Amazingly, Princess showed great strength in surviving her CHD. Despite the blackouts, Princess stayed alive for the next nine months until finally she received help from Aster DM Healthcare's Save the Little Hearts program.

"I'm really thankful to Save the Little Hearts and to Aster DM Healthcare. On our own, we would never have had the resources to get Princess operated on. I would tell my husband that it would be a tragedy if we never get Princess treated because every day we saw her struggling and fighting to stay alive despite her CHD. So I felt we had to do everything possible to get help. The second miracle we received was when we were able to get help from Save the Little Hearts and Aster DM Healthcare.

Pediatric interventional cardiologist Dr. Jonas Del Rosario and surgeon Dr. Richard Nicolas worked together to treat Princess' CHD. Dr. Nicolas performed a heart operation called the "Blalock Taussig Shunt" which is meant to promote more blood flow to Princess' lungs. Additionally, Dr. Del Rosario created a hole in her heart to improve circulation, a treatment called "balloon atrial septostomy". These two cardiac interventions significantly improved Princess' overall heart condition.

While Dr. Moopen's Foundation shouldered the cost of Princess' two surgeries, it also received support from the NKTI (National Kidney Institute) where Princess' condition was first evaluated. NKTI Executive Director Dr. Dante Dator was instrumental in facilitating Princess' stay at the hospital while kindhearted staff of Anscor Casto Travel donated part of their Christmas party funds to buy the tickets for Princess and family.

Dr. Moopen's Foundation is named after Aster DM Healthcare's Chairman Dr. Azad Moopen, who is acclaimed in the GCC region and in India for his philanthropic work in providing medical care to the poor. Aster DM Healthcare and Dr. Moopen's Foundation is celebrating the first year anniversary of its Save the Little Hearts program in the Philippines which has been renamed to "Dr. Sanjiv Malik's Little Hearts" during the Hearts' month of February through the campaign: 1YEAR, 1LIKE, 1HEART, 1DREAM.

Your "LIKE" on their FB page allows you to donate Php100.00 courtesy of the foundation that can save a heart and help a dream come true. For referrals and more information, go to www.facebook.com/SaveTheLittleHearts.

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February 13, 2014

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